On Jarvis and Sherbourne Street – A Story of helping out Downtown Toronto

clothes needed donations wanted help

From our new Toronto helpers, a story of a Friday night, and their efforts to help those they find on the streets.

It’s another typical Friday night downtown Toronto. Rush hour has just begun when Pete and I get off the GO train at Union station. Pedestrian traffic is thick, hurried and confused. A guy at the corner is passing out pamphlets with “public importancies.” I have 40 pairs of socks in my military duffel donated by Julee Lalonde Prince. Within minutes, Pete and I hand out ten pairs to the homeless who make a living at the corner of Front and Bay.

We make our way to Winner’s on Front where Pete purchases 20 pairs each of winter socks, underwear and gloves – the three things deemed most important by the homeless we met last weekend while passing out socks the first time.

Pete’s quest to provide these things was inspired by his friend’s little girl, whose family started WarmToes, and has supplied almost 10,000 pairs of socks to the homeless in that city over the past 5 years. I am more than happy to carry the 50 lbs of gear in my duffel as we wander through downtown meeting and greeting the destitute of Toronto.

One of the first people we meet tells us that he’s not homeless – he’s just down on his luck – laid off and run out of unemployment benefits. So he’s panning change to pay the rent for his family.

clothes donation charity street people's needs

The stories of these people are widely varied. Some really are homeless, some are alcoholic, drug addicted or just unlucky.

Just before Queen St., walking up Yonge, we meet Jerry who tells us “This is just one of my manifestations. I’m global. My other manifestations are all over the world. We’re preparing to rise up and make global change. If you meet any of my others, I’m sure they’d like socks too.”

street people in toronto needs help with socks, underwear, warm gloves and more.

“We’ll surely give them some if we see them Jerry,”

As we walk further, we come across Jesse, an elderly man in a wheelchair panning outside a variety store.

“HEY! The sock guys!”

Two Friday nights out on the streets and we’re already known. We don’t do this for self-aggrandizement but it’s definitely a great thing to be recognized and appreciated.

We chat with Jesse for a bit before continuing on. He’s having a good week with the weather still being in plus temperatures in mid-December.

A little further on we’re talking to a guy in a sleeping bag at Sherbourne and King. He doesn’t want anything from us. A young guy – maybe 20 – stops and inquires about what we’re doing. When we tell him he gives us five bucks which Pete promptly puts in the homeless guy’s bag.

Looking closely at this side of life changes a person. Many of us are only a few steps from being on the street. Helping those already there is “noblesse oblige.” It’s a choice to help these people which cannot be prejudiced by whatever reason they’re out there.

Dave Rankin

And onto Toronto

Homeless person's sign carboard god bless

We have a good friend who has wandered around Canada the last few years, and has recently set down some roots back in Toronto. He’s always been a supporter of WarmToes and our children but in a recent conversation with Peter where I was telling about some of the wonderful things that have happened to us I challenged him to buy a pair of socks and hand them out to someone who needs them in downtown Toronto.

Knowing Peter, I should have realized that he would take up this challenge and go big with it – he did. He bought 50 pairs of socks, grabbed a friend who owed him a favour, and went wandering the streets looking for people who would need socks.

These are some of the great people they gave socks to in their wanderings.

homeless people on the streets of Toronto winnipeg needy derserve charity

Can I say I’m really proud of Peter? I knew he was an incredible guy but I didn’t know he was an incredibly caring soul too. And get this, he’s going back out again next weekend with more socks with his girlfriend (who was quite disappointed she wasn’t asked to go out the first time).

socks for homeless needs charity giving winnipeg toronto street people "how to help"

Keep us posted to your giving, Mr. Pete, we think this is the start of something incredible.

A Day Helping Others

kids vol2

WarmToes hands out knitted mitts, socks and scarfs at Agape Table and West End Commons drop in just in time for the colder weather. Aurora enjoyed organizing while Ella and Julian shared their smile with the many women, men and children attending morning breakfast and afternoon lunch. Special thanks to academy lanes, family knitters and PACE students who donated the items!

Pancake Sockfest with Red River Pointe

Clothing Donations Winnipeg Manitoba

WarmToes was invited in to put on a Pancake Sockfest with Red River Pointe by Pamela and her crew but we were treated more like honoured guests! They supplied all the fixings (we usually do that) and brought socks too! Our crew showed up, mixed, stirred and flipped pancakes for the awesome people who make up this crew who work on the suites in the very building we were having the Pancake Sockfest.

We enjoyed meeting each and every one of you. What a great bunch of people. Thank you for having us in, thank you for the socks, and thank you for warming hearts in Winnipeg! You made our day, that’s for sure.

Would your workplace like to help warm some hearts this winter? Email us at info@warmtoes.ca and we’ll come in and serve up a Panckae Sockfest for your crew too.

Street Store – we’re helping out.

WarmToes is going to have a table at the 283rd Street Store in Winnipeg.

This highly successful event is gaining popularity all over the world where a mall of tables is set up where there is no cost to shop. It is a way for many like-minded organizations to pool their efforts and help out all at the same time.

Headed up by the Winnipeg Freestyle Group, the 283rd Street Store is being held on Saturday, October 3 at 10:00am – 5:00pm at the The Indian & Metis Friendship Centre of Winnipeg (located at 45 Robinson Street). You can email them at wpgfreestylegroup@gmail.com if you have clothes to share with those who don’t have.

And of course, we are taking donations of socks! This will be an opportunity for WarmToes to directly help hundreds of people by putting socks in their hands so we need help from you to make it happen.

Email, facebook, twitter, contact form, phone call. Doesn’t matter. Get in touch with us and we’ll get the socks to those who need in this city. Thanks for helping!

Warm weather leads into a need for warmer socks

give to the needy

This summer we handed out lots of pairs including most of our light socks, kids socks, and women’s socks. And all the pairs that Academy Lanes gave us too! We want to thank all the people who help make it possible for us to help so many others.

And although it is still a very warm summer day that I’m writing this we are looking towards the future when it won’t be so nice in Winnipeg. You know, that coming winter we all dread, is fast approaching. If you are thinking of picking up some socks for us, think warm winter socks of all sizes. Work socks are great too. You can find these at a pretty reasonable price at places like Odd Lots or Giant Tiger.



Academy Lanes helps WarmToes!

Bowling for Sock Donations

Out of the blue @academylanes contacted us wondering if we needed socks. These great folks are you friendly neighbourhood bowling alley we all know and love, started collecting socks from patrons.

People need bowling shoes to bowl, fair enough, but they also have to have socks and Academy Lanes has them for sale to the people who come bowling on a hot summer day in sandals. Recently, they started asking patrons if they’d like to donate their socks to help WarmToes and people loved the idea! Especially us!

The gave us 77 pairs of cleaned and washed socks that are ideal for the summer of all different sizes. We picked them up, played a few games while we were there (and ate the best hot chips in the city), and met some great people. So head down to Academy Lanes this summer, bowl a few games, leave your socks at home, and support these wonderful folks and the efforts of WarmToes at the same time.

So thanks again for the socks @academylanes and thinking of WarmToes. We’ll be in touch!

School’s out!

Now that school’s out, I have more time. Making Pomsters, (please don’t ask!), travelling, and volunteering.


On Tuesday school was out. So mom biked my brother and I over to St. Mathews and there we made kits, sorted food, and obviously brought lots of socks to hand out.

I’m going on a big trip soon so the shelters will need your help. If you find some time, give it to your local shelter. I dare you. So go. Once you’re finished, come back and tell us what you did. At the end of summer, we’ll count all the things everyone did. Go, WarmToes!